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Green Machines

While marketing budgets may have been trimmed for many banks, concern about sustainability and the environment has increased for financial companies, particularly larger ones. This has led some to seek out socially or environmentally responsible products for both internal messaging and for the public. Similarly, products that promote health and wellness continue to provide a positive message for financial institutions.

One promotional products distributor recently found that an eco notepad he used for a banking client – made from 100% post-consumer sources, from the cover material to the plastic binding – was a big hit. A shift away from disposable break-room supplies has opened an opportunity for promotional products to be included in these areas, with distributors providing branded mugs or heavy-duty water bottles.

Another major bank removed all of its Styrofoam and paper cups at its call center, replacing them with some 3,000 branded plastic coffee mugs, featuring green messaging on the cups.

“They said it was great and everybody loved it,” says the distributor that provided the branded mugs, who adds that the bank recently ordered several hundred more for another division of its company.

As banks look more carefully at their impact on the environment and on their community, they are proceeding with a higher level of caution in how they are examining their supply chain, all the way through suppliers and manufacturers.

“They want more due diligence from our suppliers, to be sure they have fair wages and good work conditions,” says the president of an ad specialty company. “The bigger companies just don’t want to take any chances.” She recently worked with a bank on a promotion in which safety items such as purse hangers, earthquake kits and eco-blankets were given to existing customers.

While this caution continues to extend to financial institutions’ approach to promotions, (they generally avoid out-of-the-box creativity), there are some cases where this is shifting. The ad specialty company president recently helped a large bank promote its Back-to-School Join Up campaign, in which parents brought their child in to set up a new bank account. Each child who opened an account received a free Ogio backpack and iTunes gift card. So far 400 sets have been given away.

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